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Augmentative and Alternative Communication Program

The ability to communicate with others is a precious commodity that many of us take for granted. For children with disabilities such as autism or cerebral palsy, the inability to express themselves verbally to their families, peers and caretakers can result in frustration, decreased social participation and inappropriate behavioral patterns. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) refers to ways, other than spontaneous verbal language, that are used to communicate.

Training of the individual user on a particular AAC system is often used in conjunction with speech-language therapy to support language development. Therapy is generally required with children because the challenges they face with verbally expressing themselves often impacts long-term language development and relationship building. Pediatric Therapy Network's Speech and Language department provides many supports to parents and children through education, individual consultations, comprehensive assessments and support groups.


What is the definition of AAC?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is defined as the use of other methods to replace or support verbal communication.

What types of AAC interventions are available?

AAC interventions include a wide range of systems from no technology (gestures, signs), to low technology (communication board, wallet), to high technology (speech generating devices).

Who usually uses AAC devices?

AAC users are individuals that have difficulty expressing their thoughts and ideas verbally (e.g. people with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Apraxia, Muscular Dystrophy, etc.). Some AAC users will only need to use their system for a period of time while their verbal communication skills are being addressed through intervention, others will use AAC systems throughout their lives.

How do I determine the best AAC device for my child?

In order to best match a child's needs to a proper AAC device, it is imperative that a Speech Language Pathologist with AAC knowledge is available to make the appropriate recommendation. Some AAC devices require a considerable investment so it is advisable to seek a professional consultation prior to making a purchase.

Who would I contact at PTN to learn more about what your organization offers?

For questions or inquiries about PTN's AAC services, please contact Rosalinda Garcia at (310) 328-0276 ext. 518.

If you would like more general information about AAC, please visit the links below:

AAC Insitute

AAC Funding Resources

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